Libyan electoral authority rejects candidacy of Gaddafi’s son

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The Libyan electoral authority has rejected the candidacy of the son of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the Anadolu (AA) agency reported on Monday.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi announced on Sunday his candidacy for the country’s next presidential and parliamentary elections to be held on December 24, Libya’s High National Election Commission (HNEC) announced.

Al-Islam, wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity related to the 2011 uprising, filed his candidacy documents in the southern city of Sabha, 650 kilometers (400 miles) south of the capital Tripoli. NHEC said in a statement.

Gaddafi’s son was captured by fighters in Zintan in late 2011, the year a NATO-backed popular uprising overthrew his father after more than 40 years in power. Muammar Gaddafi was later killed amid the ensuing fighting, which turned into a civil war. As a result, oil-rich Libya has spent most of the past decade between rival governments – one based in the capital, Tripoli, and the other in the country’s east.

In a video shared by an election official, al-Islam addressed the camera, claiming that God will decide the right course for the country’s future. He wore a traditional Libyan robe and turban and glasses. It was the first time in years that he had appeared in public.

He was considered the reformist face of the Gaddafi regime before the uprising of 2011. He was released in June 2017 after more than five years in detention. In July, he told the New York Times in an exclusive interview that he was considering a candidacy for the country’s top office. His candidacy is likely to spark controversy across the divided country.

ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah declined to comment on Saif al-Islam’s candidacy. “The Court does not comment on political issues, because for the legal side, there is an arrest warrant pending and that has not changed,” he said.

Gaddafi’s son, who has deep-rooted ties to tribes across Libya, is the first major presidential hopeful to apply for the country’s top post. Other potential candidates include the putschist General Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the forces based in the East during the civil war, the Speaker of the Parliament Aguila Saleh and the former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha.

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